Euro draw tough on AEL and Ermis, Nicosia giants get off lightly

first_imgBy Andreas VouAPOEL start their bid to return to the group stages of the Champions League with a third-round tie against the winner of the match between Rabotnicki of Macedonia and HJK Helsinki.AEL have been handed the toughest possible draw as they were pitted against Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg.APOEL, the 2011/12 Champions League quarter-finalists, as a result of winning the Cypriot first division last season, entered the ‘Champions draw’ – a pool of teams who won Europe’s lesser ranked leagues. Rabotnicki and HJK Helsinki played out a goalless draw on Tuesday evening which leaves this Wednesday’s second leg wide open as to who will face Giorgos Donis’ side.This is the first year which sees two Cypriot teams in the qualification process of Europe’s top competition and, despite narrowly missing out on the league title, AEL were the ones who benefited from UEFA’s new system. However, the draw was anything but kind as they face Champions League regulars Zenit. APOEL’s first-leg will be on either the 29th or 30th of July which will be away from home and the return leg will be on 5/6 August.AEL will host Andre Villas-Boas’ men at the GSP stadium on the 29th of this month and will travel to Russia on the 6th of August for the return match.The draw was partly affected by the political unrest in Ukraine, with UEFA forbidding the meeting of a Russian side with one from the Ukraine. Zenit could not have been drawn against Dnipro and therefore the chances of drawing AEL were increased.In the Europa League, Omonia will face either FK Metalurg or FK Zeljeznicar, provided they see off Buducnost of Montenegro.The Nicosia club earned a vital 0-2 away win against Buducnost on Thursday which makes qualification to the next round almost a formality.European debutants Ermis Aradippou, the surprise packages of last season, were handed a tough tie against Young Boys, with the first leg to be played in Switzerland. The third round matches of the Europa League qualifying will take place on July 31st and August 7th. Champions League third qualifying round (29/30 July and 5/6 August)FK Rabotnicki (MKD)/HJK Helsinki (FIN) v APOEL FC (CYP)AEL Limassol FC (CYP) v FC Zenit (RUS)UEFA Europa League third qualifying round (31 July & 7 August)FK Budućnost Podgorica (MNE)/AC Omonia (CYP) v FK Metalurg Skopje (MKD)/FK Željezničar (BIH)BSC Young Boys (SUI) v Ermis Aradippou FC (CYP)last_img read more

Sevilla face Lazio in Europa League last 32

first_imgFive-time champions Sevilla will face a tough tie against Serie A side Lazio in the Europa League round of 32 following Monday’s draw.Sevilla hit 18 goals on the way to winning their group unbeaten, but Lazio fell into the unseeded pot after scraping through in second place with three wins and three defeats.La Liga’s other three teams in the league were also paired against tricky opponents with Valencia facing former European champions Celtic, Villarreal meeting Portugal’s Sporting and Betis meeting French side Rennes.Inter Milan, one of the teams who parachuted into the competition after finishing third in their Champions League group, will play Rapid Vienna and Napoli, also knocked out of the premiere competition, take on FC Zurich.“We were disappointed with the Champions League exit but we are ready to have a very good campaign in the Europa League now,” Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti said.The two English Premier League sides were given fairly straightforward ties, although could face wintry conditions.Arsenal will play Belarus champions BATE Borisov, while Chelsea visit Malmo, with both playing their away ties in the second week of February.Elsewhere, Benfica were drawn against Galatasaray, Eintracht Frankfurt against Shakhtar Donetsk and Zenit St Petersburg against play Fenerbahce.Viktoria Plzen v Dinamo ZagrebClub Brugge v Red Bull SalzburgRapid Vienna v Inter MilanSlavia Prague v GenkKrasnodar v Bayer LeverkusenFC Zurich v NapoliMalmo v ChelseaShakhtar Donetsk v Eintracht FrankfurtCeltic v ValenciaRennes v Real BetisOlympiakos v Dynamo KievLazio v SevillaFenerbahce v ZenitSporting v VillarrealBate Borisov v ArsenalGalatasaray v Benficalast_img read more

L.A. County elections chief to retire

first_imgExpressing frustration with the decertification of Los Angeles County’s voting system, Registrar-Recorder Conny McCormack said Tuesday she will retire at the end of the year. McCormack, who has been in public service for 30 years and run county elections for the last 12, said she decided to retire for several reasons, including frustration with what she believes are unwarranted concerns about the vulnerability of election systems to hacking and tampering. “My mission has been to expand voter services, and I don’t want to preside over the dismantling of popular voting services,” she said. After a statewide study, Secretary of State Debra Bowen decided earlier this month to decertify electronic systems in 39 counties out of concerns they are vulnerable to hacking. She then recertified 38 of them, but with new security conditions attached. Los Angeles County’s InkaVote Plus system was the only one not recertified because the vendor, Election Systems and Software, had not submitted materials to Bowen’s office in time to be included in her review. ES&S has since submitted those materials, and Bowen’s office is now reviewing the system. McCormack said she was frustrated with Bowen’s finding that it’s possible to hack into the voting systems if the intruders have unfettered access to the equipment, software and passwords. “There is just no evidence of vote-altering,” McCormack said. “It’s really fear-mongering without a factual basis, and what it is doing is undermining voter confidence in the accuracy, reliability and security of voting systems now in place without evidence of problems.” Bowen said she understands McCormack’s aggravation. “But with regard to the assertion that concerns are overblown, I take great issue with that,” she said. “Even on a very short time frame, the testers were able to violate both software and physical security of the systems.” In offering other reasons for retiring, McCormack said she was approached by several foundations and wants to explore election administration research and consulting. (213) 974-8985160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

More plans for LAUSD in the works

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Attempting to seize the initiative from the city’s mayor, two state legislators and a coalition of community-based organizations led by the teachers union made separate educational reform pushes Monday, both advocating breaking up the district. During a news conference, Sen. George Runner, R-Antelope Valley, and Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Northridge, touted their plan to split the 727,000-student district into districts of no more than 50,000 students each by 2010. They claimed their breakup proposal would be the best way to achieve accountability and save a “failing” district with a high dropout rate. “The mayor’s going in the opposite direction of what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to decentralize … and the mayor is trying to centralize education in Los Angeles,” Runner said. “I don’t care how many times you want to reorganize … The only way you create a community-oriented school system is to empower parents, families and voters.” A draft version of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s plan revealed a push to break up the 700-square-mile LAUSD into 80 mini-districts, limit schools to 500 students, extend the school day to 5 p.m. and the school year to 10 1/2 months. United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy said at an afternoon news conference that their plan is the only one created by a grass-roots coalition and calls for collaboration with all the stakeholders: the school district, mayor, teachers and families. The union-led plan suggests increasing autonomy at school sites, eliminating the eight local districts, expanding the school board and making seats full-time positions, reducing class size and allowing teachers a greater role in reshaping the curriculum, Duffy said. District officials said while they agree with most of the plan’s ideas, they believe a managed standards-based curriculum has proved to produce the greatest achievements. School board member David Tokofsky questioned whether any of the plans would improve student learning. “There are so many plans out there that it’s starting to give the word ‘plan’ a bad name. Not since the last days of the Soviet Union have there been so many plans and so little yield,” Tokofsky said. “What matters is the classroom teachers, the quality of the teacher and how much training and support you give that teacher, and so far most of these plans are focusing on governance, bloated bureaucrats and other sound bites rather than my kid’s teacher.” The mayor met with Duffy for two hours Saturday to discuss the union plan. While Duffy declined to comment specifically on the mayor’s plan, which he has not seen, he maintained that for now, the union opposes mayoral takeover because it doesn’t appear to produce any appreciable benefits. (818) 713-3722last_img read more

Every Manchester United defeat to newly promoted clubs since Fergie’s departure

first_imgWinning football games is written into the DNA of Manchester United.The Red Devils have dominated English football during the Premier League – in no small part to Sir Alex Ferguson’s contributions at Old Trafford.But since the managerial legend’s departure, English football’s biggest prize has eluded the red side of Manchester.And having suffered a shock defeat today against Huddersfield, United have fallen five points behind rivals Manchester City, who lead the way at the top of the Premier League table.Here at, we have looked through the archives to see how often the Red Devils have lost to newly promoted clubs since Fergie’s departure.Click the right arrow, above, to see every shock Red Devils defeat since the 2013/14 season.  4 Huddersfield 2-1 Manchester United – 21, October 2017 – Jose Mourinho suffered his first defeat against a newly promoted club since taking over as Manchester United manager in 2016. Goals from Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre gave the Terriers a deserved 2-0 half time lead after a shocking first half showing by the Red Devils. Marcus Rashford’s 78th minute strike threatened to spark a late revival, but ultimately the visitors could not find another goal as they slumped to a shock defeat at the John Smith’s Stadium. 4 4 Manchester United 1-2 Norwich – 19, December 2015 – Van Gaal completed the unwanted record of losing back-to-back fixtures against newly promoted clubs in the space of a week. Having lost to Bournemouth seven days earlier, Red Devils supporters were incensed after falling 2-0 down after goals Cameron Jerome and Alex Tettey. Anthony Martial pulled a goal back for the hosts, but it proved too little too late, as United saw their winless run stretch to six games. Bournemouth 2-1 Manchester United – 12, December, 2015 – Former United youth player Joshua King condemned the Red Devils to a costly defeat at the Vitality Stadium. Van Gaal and his players got off to the worst possible start after Junior Stanislas scored directly from a corner to give the Cherries an unlikely lead. United levelled the scores through Marouane Fellaini, but King ensured he got one over his one-time employer as he fired Matt Ritchie’s set-piece past David De Gea in goal. Leicester 5-3 Manchester United – 21, September, 2014 – Louis van Gaal’s expensively assembled Red Devils let a 3-1 lead slip to Nigel Pearson’s side in a pulsating encounter at the King Power Stadium. United were on course to securing all three points after goals from Robin van Persie, Angel Di Maria and Ander Herrera. But a penalty from David Nugent inspired a remarkable turnaround, as further goals from Esteban Cambiasso, Jamie Vardy and Leonardo Ulloa capped off a stunning victory. 4last_img read more

Unsworth insists creativity is the key to unlocking Everton’s potential

first_img Everton players celebrate David Unsworth has urged the likes of Wayne Rooney to play a leading role when Everton bid to halt their slide against Watford on Sunday.The Toffees have lost their last five games, three of them under caretaker manager Unsworth, and sit in the Premier League relegation zone.Unsworth left Rooney, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka at home for Everton’s 3-0 loss to Lyon on Thursday, which ended their Europa League qualification hopes.All three are set to be involved on Sunday, and Unsworth said: “Senior players are always important and they’re all top players with many appearances under their names.“We’ve got a few young players in and around the squad as well so their importance to those young players is vital. Any time you go into big games, and Sunday’s a big game, a cup final for me, you always need your senior players who you can rely on and trust.”After a seventh-placed finish last season and a summer of big spending, expectations among the blue half of Merseyside were sky high, making their current difficulties all the harder to swallow.Unsworth, who has stepped up from the under-23s and is hoping to be given the job on a permanent basis, believes Everton’s problems are collective.He said: “It’s very difficult. For most of the games I’ve been in charge we’ve competed, the effort’s there. Occasionally we’ve made silly mistakes that have conceded goals so we need to tighten that up.“We need to try to create a few more opportunities to give everybody the opportunity to try and hit the back of the net.“It’s a little bit of everything and you try to tweak that as best as you can and you try and pick the best team and individuals for the next game, because all that matters is winning the next game.”Watford have been another surprise package this season but for much more positive reasons.Marco Silva has been linked with the job at Goodison Park after guiding the Hornets to eighth place, racking up three wins from five away games.Unsworth has called on the Everton fans, who grew increasingly vociferous in their opposition to previous manager Ronald Koeman, to ensure there is home advantage.He said: “We stick together, and that includes the fans as well.“The players have got to play on the front foot. They’re well aware of what’s needed at Goodison and, if they’re not, I’ll certainly be reminding them. We need to try and play with freedom and positivity and that’s my job to instil that in the players.“Goodison is an amazing place to play football. I know it like the back of my hand. When our fans get behind us there’s no better place.“I know on Sunday that they’ll be there for us. Not me, but for the team, because the team needs its fans at the moment and we all need to stick together in a difficult time.“We need to win a couple of games quickly, because my experience playing in the Premier League tells me that you can go and win a couple of games and all of a sudden be in the top 10.” 1last_img read more

Jose Mourinho and Harry Kane welcome Tottenham ball boy to pre-match meal

first_imgThe Tottenham ball boy who helped Spurs beat Olympiakos joined the players for a pre-match meal on Saturday as a reward for his heroics.Callum Hynes, 15, started the attack for Spurs’ equaliser during the 4-2 victory with some quick thinking, allowing Mourinho’s men to catch the Greeks cold from a throw. 3 Kane introduced the ball boy to each member of the squad Twitter @SpursOfficial Twitter @SpursOfficial Hynes could be seen shaking hands with the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Heung-min Son before sitting down for a chat with Davinson Sanchez over some grub.The teenager, who spent the rest of Tuesday night revising for a maths exam, has described his assist as totally unforgettable.“You can see from my smile it was just unbelievable,” the ball boy told Tottenham’s official website. The teenager joined the squad for some food Twitter @SpursOfficial “Jose didn’t have to do that. It was really nice of him to come over to me.“It’s made my day, my life, really! I love Spurs and it was an amazing moment I’ll never forget.” 3 3 The goal proved a turning point as Tottenham cancelled out the visitors’ two-goal advantage and went on to seal qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League.Mourinho, who high-fived the youngster in the immediate aftermath, then went on to praise Hynes in his post-match press conference.And the Spurs manager came good on his promise to bring the kid along to a pre-match meal, even taking the time to introduce him to the players.Listen to Tottenham vs Bournemouth LIVE on talkSPORT 2 Mourinho and Kane welcomed Hynes to the pre-match meal last_img read more

Celtic fined by UEFA over supporters’ Palestinian flags

first_imgCeltic have been fined €10,000 by UEFA over Palestinian flags displayed by fans during the Champions league match against Hapoel Be’er Sheva.Fans flew the flag before and during the match against Israeli opposition, drawing a charge from European football’s governing body.UEFA viewed the flags as “illicit banners” under Art. 16 (2) of their Disciplinary Regulations.At a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, the complaint against the Scottish champions was upheld and a fine of €10,000 (£8,619) imposed. The charge was the ninth levelled at the club by European football’s governing body in recent years for supporter misconduct.A fine has been the sanction of choice by UEFA’s control and disciplinary body in each case.Fans of the club, launched an online fundraising campaign in a bid to match any fine handed to Celtic and donate the cash to charities in Palestine. The gofundme page launched to collect funds has already raised £172,000 in donations.last_img read more

Laura Muir drops plans to work with Nike Oregon coach

first_imgHours after it became clear that Muir was to work with McHendry, in a move endorsed by UK Athletics, she said she had had a change of heart.She tweeted: “At a busy time in my life, with my degree coming to a critical stage and my running career going so well, I need to minimise distractions and stresses to allow me to focus on my athletics and studies.“I have no concerns about Dave McHenry and was hugely impressed when I met him, but after some reflection we have decided not to start working with him as planned and not to pursue this relationship further.”The 24-year-old’s coaching will continue to be led by Andy Young. Laura Muir has reversed her decision to link-up with a coach from the controversial Nike Oregon Project and announced she will not work with David McHendry.The middle-distance star had planned to begin working with the group’s strength and conditioning coach.The Oregon Project is run by Mo Farah’s former coach Alberto Salazar, who is being probed by the US Anti-Doping Agency.Muir has previously criticised her rival Geneze Dilbaba for her ties to Jama Aden after the coach was arrested as part of an anti-doping investigation.last_img read more